Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Evaluating Field Data Collection Procedures for U.S. Pasturelands Characterization by the National Resources Inventory.

James B. Cropper, USDA, NRCS, East National Technology Support Center, 200 E. Northwood Street, Suite 410, Greensboro, NC 27401 and Kenneth E. Spaeth, USDA, NRCS, Grazing Lands Team, 501 W. Felix Street, FWFC, Building 23, Fort Worth, TX 76115-0567.

The National Resources Inventory (NRI) that began in 1977 is a statistical survey of land use and natural resource conditions and trends on United States of America (USA) non-federal lands.  It is conducted by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) of USDA.  Previously, the information collected every five years for pasturelands has been rather coarse.  Needed conservation treatment measures selection that had been done through 1992 had been subjective as well, left much to the interpretation of a diverse group of data collectors based on each one’s experiential and educational background.  Currently, NRCS is conducting an annual inventory on rangelands throughout the US by collecting field data using a new set of procedures.  This is primarily being collected at a sample size that is nationally reliable.  The grazing lands discipline within NRCS with assistance from Agriculture Research Service (ARS) is evaluating new field data collection procedures for pasturelands as well.  This new field collected data would give us the ability to monitor the overall vegetative and soil conditions of our Nation’s pastures.  If fully implemented, this data collection would provide us information on plant species composition, noxious weed and invasive plant extent, forage yield, conservation treatment needs, practices applied, and soil fertility status.  This is more comprehensive information than what the NRI has produced in the past.  Compilation of this detailed data would be very useful to the forage and livestock industry.

Handout (.pdf format, 72.0 kb)